Editor's Note: This article was provided by the National Honey Board.

Honey is having a moment in the candy industry, and it’s well deserved. 

It adds another layer of sweetness to confections due to the ingredient’s functionality, permissible indulgence and almost endless possibilities of flavors. 

Honey, which is all natural, pairs well with chocolate in more ways than one. Consumers looking to achieve less with more should look to honey to satisfy that craving. Honey also is slightly sweeter than sugar, so you can use less to achieve the same amount of sweetness.

With more than 300 honey varietals in the United States alone, the flavor combinations of confections with honey are endless. And, great taste? No matter what your taste buds crave, honey provides a little something for everyone.

This year's Sweets and Snacks Expo, which was hosted by the National Confectioners Association (NCA), featured a number of new candy products made with honey. 

One popular pairing was chocolate and honey. Chocolate in particular plays a role in the “better for you” category as the “indulgence of choice” for one-third of U.S. grocery shoppers during the pandemic, according to Cargill’s North American Cocoa & Chocolate team. Fewer than 3 percent of the 600 consumers surveyed reported avoiding chocolate. According to the NCA, retail sales data from spring 2020 showed that premium chocolate sales were up 21.4 percent compared to the sale period the year before.

However, consumers have high expectations for their chocolate. ChocoLogic research shows that seven in 10 associate chocolate with health benefits, and 52 percent choose dark chocolate because they perceive it as “healthier.” 

Specifically, consumers are looking to taste and flavor in their treats. And unexpected flavor combinations and new ideas in the market are powerhouses in 2021. In fact, IRI’s Snacking Survey showed that 93 percent of consumers say taste is even more important for candy, and 89 percent cited flavor. 

Six New Honey Candies

Here’s a look at some of the new candy products featuring honey:

Lake Champlain Chocolates’ 57 percent  Dark Chocolate Bar with Hot Honey Caramel filling.

1. Lake Champlain Chocolates’ 57 percent Dark Chocolate Bar with Hot Honey Caramel filling

One such pairing comes from Lake Champlain Chocolates’ 57 percent  Dark Chocolate Bar with Hot Honey Caramel filling. The balance of chocolate, spice and a rich caramel center infused with honey is a flavor combination that provides a juxtaposition of sweet and spicy.

Droga’s Money on Honey Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut Almond

2. Droga’s Money on Honey Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut Almond

Consumers seeking premium chocolate should also try Droga’s Money on Honey Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut Almond. Premium roasted almonds are blended with shredded coconut, honey caramel and finished with fair-trade dark chocolate. At only 60 calories per piece, permissible indulgence tastes even better.

Honey Acres’ Honey Patties

3. Honey Acres’ Honey Patties 

Honey Acres’ Honey Patties lineup satisfies the permissible indulgence trend along with providing great flavor combinations: cocoa, mint, raspberry and orange. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, salt-free and all-natural!

4. Gerrit J. Verburg Co., Gustaf’s Beehive Licorice

For consumers looking for a touch of honey in traditional favorites, this Dutch licorice treat from Gerrit J. Verburg Co., Gustaf’s Beehive Licorice, was a hit on the show floor. 

See’s Candies Dark Scotchmallow

5. See’s Candies Dark Scotchmallow

See’s Candies also brought its honey game with Dark Scotchmallow, which combines honey marshmallow enrobed in caramel and dark chocolate. 

Northern Confections S’Mores Mackinac Island Fudge

6. Northern Confections S’Mores Mackinac Island Fudge

S’mores lovers also found a treat by visiting Northern Confections’ booth, where they found honey, fudge grahams, chocolate fudge and marshmallows combined for a flavorful Mackinac Island S’mores Fudge. 

Honey places a unique, updated spin on these nostalgic treats, and confectionery innovators who are paying attention to what consumers are saying can choose honey as a sweetener that will satisfy all.